When Microsoft announced the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL back in October 2015, fans were pretty impressed with the introduction of Windows Hello on phones, and Continuum. Outside of that, the Lumia 950 series wasn't much to be excited about, but that wasn't always going to be the case. Today, we're able to finally show you Microsoft's original vision for its flagship Lumia, and indeed Windows 10 Mobile, before Microsoft retrenched their mobile efforts.
For the first time, we're showing you some of the original marketing plans including the smart cover and pen for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.
Windows Central obtained a never before seen internal video of the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL that reveals a few interesting ideas that Microsoft had planned for the product, from before the company made the internal decision to begin retrenching its mobile efforts. The Lumia 950 series was going to be Microsoft's "star" Windows phone that showcased the best of the mobile platform. But as we all know, that vision never happened.
The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL launched with some software issues, creaky and cheap feeling hardware, and was missing several features that Microsoft originally had planned for the product. Windows Central had accurately reported on the Lumia 950's Pen and Smart Cover accessories back in July 2015, but up until now, the public hasn't seen footage or images of these accessories in action.
The video and information we've obtained are from internal and external sources that wish to remain anonymous. It is believed that the video was created in early 2015, during the development of the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. It shows several interesting ideas that Microsoft had planned for the Lumia 950 and Windows 10 Mobile, including a slightly more detailed Glance screen, pen support, device edge gestures, and very slight differences in the Lumia 950 design.
Considering this video was created before the Lumia 950, and Windows 10 Mobile were finished, most of the video is showcasing concept-based ideas, but at the time these ideas were expected to be fully realized in time for the product's release in the fall of 2015. Sources tell us that several of these features (such as pen support) were working on Lumia 950 prototypes, before the feature was canned shortly before the launch of the product in October 2015.
The pen itself looks almost identical to the Surface pen, which we're assuming isn't a coincidence. It's likely that the Lumia 950 series was going to use the same pen technology employed in Microsoft's Surface devices, meaning the Surface pen would've worked with the Lumia 950 XL, as well as the Surface itself. In the video, we see a brief usage of the pen on the Lumia 950 in OneNote, functionality that never actually made it in the product.
Also briefly shown in the video are the "Active Sides" 3D Touch feature hinted at in the above image. Yes, the Lumia 950 series was going to include some of the Lumia McLaren's 3D Touch features. Specifically, "Active Sides" edge gestures that allowed the device to detect when it was being held, allowing for several individual device behaviors such as the handset knowing when to keep the display on and when to rotate or not rotate the screen. Some of this planned functionality already leaked previously.
The video also features slight differences in the Lumia 950 design. These differences are likely because the devices in this video are mostly concepts, but it's interesting to see some of the previously intended design mock-ups for the device.
Although not seen in the video, Microsoft also had plans to introduce Smart Covers for the Lumia 950, which would've given the user Glance Screen access at the top half of the display when the cover was closed. The Smart Cover would've been sold separately alongside the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, as was the pen.
Unfortunately, we probably won't ever see these features or accessories release for the Lumia 950 series. Perhaps that means we'll see it in the future if Microsoft ever plans to release a Surface phone. Or maybe, Microsoft's mobile vision truly is dead, and the video above is just a remnant of what could have been.
What do you think of Microsoft's original Lumia 950 vision? Let us know below.